Turn of the century

by Kurt Andersen

Paper Book, 1999

Status

Available

Genres

Publication

New York : Random House, c1999.

Description

As big as the next century, as relevant as tomorrow, a novel of real life at the giddy, anxious end of the millennium. Rocketing between Hollywood, Seattle and with occasional stopovers at home with their children in New York, TV producer George Mactier and software executive Lizzie Zimbalist are living at the sharp end of the century. Too busy to spend the money they make, too clever not to shuffle a little beneath the bright lights of their high-gloss worlds, when George's boss buys out Lizzie's company, making her his personal advisor, the couple discovers that no amount of super-modern spin can erase certain basic instincts...

User reviews

LibraryThing member wfzimmerman
Maybe the best of the Y2K novels, by one of the founding editors of the defining early-90s magazine, SPY.
LibraryThing member melancholia101
I had a real problem getting going with this book. I originally bought it in 2000, shortly after it came out in paperback in the UK. Given the fin de si├Ęcle subject matter I really should have read it then and I did try, but always seemed to get fed up 50 pages in.
As it turns out it I just needed to get a bit further in to where the story actually starts to take off. After that I loved it.

Having really got to the book late and given it's subject matter I though it could appear somewhat dated, however the tale of media and technology industry convergence remains valid today. Having read the book you can see why as it illustrates many of the pitfalls these two industries are facing and how many of the products they continually tell us are the future of entertainment are still some way off.

Whilst this is very much a book about TV, technology and big business it is also a book about a city. New York, LA and Seattle are characters in their own right who dictate how much of the story is played out. New York especially is a great creation in much the same way Anne Rice did with New Orleans.

The prose is excellent. Sharp, hip dialogue with wonderfully jargon filled descriptions of the workings of TV studios and corporations that really make you think you're getting some insider insight.

There is also a lot of food for thought. Some of the hoops shows go through to maintain ratings and viewer approval are quite worrying and given the authors background I am sure there is at least some truth to it. The impact of big business in an entirely non-productive, but money generating way also raises concerns. Nothing we don't already know, but it does bring it home and is dealt with very well.

The ending does tale off a little, but not enough to spoil a very vibrant book.
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